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The story is told about a politician who went campaigning in a mental hospital. Everyone was excited about his visit except one patient who seemed indifferent. Taking notice of the quiet patient, the politician approached him and demanded: “Do you know who I am?” The patient looked at the politician in the eye, smiled, and then shouted: “Hey, doctors, nurses, help! This person doesn’t know who he is!”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3, 1-6), the names of the greatest and most powerful people are mentioned—Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanias, Annas and Caiaphas. But who among us remember them? Who among us really care, for that matter? But the name of John the Baptist we remember. He was a nobody then, but his message and his person we remember. Those who lived for themselves we hardly remember. Those who lived for others, and for someone or something greater than themselves, we remember.

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Authority, functions, and power are fleeting. The Lord reminds us today that personhood and a person’s life message will last, and will long be remembered. Are you in high office, or in power now? Don’t count on it enduring. Don’t put your worth on it. You are worth more than your functions, your power, your position, or your wealth. Don’t be proud. It’s just a matter of time, and you, too, will be gone and forgotten. Without what you hold and treasure in your hand, who are you? What are you?

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It is so important that we scrutinize those who are running for public office. Some say: Forget the person so long and as long as he/she delivers. No, sir and no, ma’am! The end does not justify the means. Neither should party, “winnability,” logistics and machinery be our criteria for the selection and election of those who will lead us in 2016. Please take time to look into each candidate’s person (pagkatao) and truthfulness (pagkatotoo).

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I asked an acquaintance once what his Christmas wish was. After some thought, he said: “I wish there were more or other candidates running for the presidency.” It was his ardent wish. Too late for that. But let us look among the present “presidentiables” for that “voice of one crying out in the desert.” Let us really listen to what they are saying, as well as what they are not saying. Again, let us look at the person, and the life message of the person. John the Baptist was persecuted, but he remained steadfast in his message of change and repentance, for his God.

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It is hard to be “a lonely voice in the desert.” How far easier it is to parrot what is nice to say, and to say what people want to hear. Let us pray for the grace to really please God, and not just to please people, and be untruthful.

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I am always amazed when I see construction projects going on, especially earthworks that change the landscape. I admire people who straighten paths, fill up valleys, level mountains and hills, make straight winding roads, and make rough ways smooth. Kudos to these people who are able to do so in the physical and material level. But I admire more those who do so in the spiritual level. Bottom line? “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?” Before you venture on fixing the world, fix yourself first.

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Fr. Antonio Enerio, SVD, and Fr. Julipros Dolotallas, SVD, are busy “preparing the way of the Lord” in Switzerland. They don’t wait for overseas Filipino workers to come to them; they themselves go wherever our OFWs are, by train or bus, and bring the Eucharist and the Word of God to different prayer groups and communities all over Switzerland. That’s a lot of legwork for the Lord and with the Lord.

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Lay people have a big role in preparing the way of the Lord. Today we salute all Christian and Catholic lay leaders who have taken upon themselves the joy and responsibility of spreading the Good News wherever they are. Maraming salamat po!

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It is with deep gratitude and joy that we share with you news of the priestly ordination yesterday of eight members of the Society of the Divine Word, Logos Class, at the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City. Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, DD, bishop of Imus, was the ordaining prelate. Praise God! Thank you, Mama Mary, for this tremendous gift and ministry of priesthood to: Fathers Lawrence Llona, SVD (assigned to Sudan); Roberto Solis, SVD (assigned to Japan); Ryan Dino, SVD (assigned to Argentina); June Lee Sarenas, SVD (assigned to Ghana); Lindsey Francis Taeza, SVD (assigned to Togo); Gregorius Robinus Dosom, SVD (assigned to the Philippines, North); Fransiskus Subandi, SVD (assigned to the Philippines, Central); and Diderick Andrinjatovo, SVD (assigned to the Philippines, South).

Let us pray for them as they make their journey and carry on their mission work.

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Dec. 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Philippines. It is a holiday of obligation. May our Blessed Mother continue to bless our country.

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Think about this: “You are worth not for what you have, not even for who you are, but for what others have become because of you.”

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Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “Laughter Therapy” at Tuklong San Jose, Christ the King Mission Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City, on Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. For inquiries, please call 3732262, 9982548, or 09174167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us not to forget personhood (pagkatao) and truthfulness (pagkatotoo) in life. Amen.

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TAGS: ‘presidentiables’, Elections 2016, Gospel, person, politics, St. John the Baptist, truthfulness
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